How to become a Chief Sustainability Officer

Overview, Courses, Exam, Colleges, Pathways, Salary



Who is Chief Sustainability Officer ?

Sustainability in the workplace refers to the activity of identifying and implementing methods of operation that encourage conservation and environmental protection. Sustainability officers are those who are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the corporation`s environmental programme is kept up to date. A sustainability officer may be recognised by other names as well; nonetheless, it is a business term for a job in the senior management ranks. A sustainability officer`s primary responsibility is to address the sustainability initiatives and concerns of a corporation. Sustainable development, according to the United Nations, is defined as "Development that fulfils current demands without jeopardising future generations` capacity to satisfy their own needs." Such a position holder places a strong emphasis on the long-term development of the company or organisation. A firm`s present degree of sustainability, as well as its vision for the future, maybe taken into consideration by sustainability officers when developing sustainable policies. They can also evaluate what initiatives the company would need to take in order to lessen its environmental effect. A sustainability officer often reports directly to a company`s chief executive officer, or CEO, for orders as well as to communicate their findings and aims with the rest of the organisation.

Typical day at work

What does Chief Sustainability Officer do?

  • The rise of the ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) movement and the shareholders’ individualism has led to the surge for the corporations to buckle down to sustainability and social issues across their value chain, and address growing needs of external stakeholders.
  • A chief sustainability officer plays the role of a  leader within an organization who is  responsible to communicate about the sustainability issues. Their main work is to develop strategies to reduce a company’s overall population footprint (or ecological footprint) so that the energy consumption can be reduced, recycled more oftenly, and  ways to  materials re-usage  and reduced  pollution output can be found.
  • Chief sustainability officers are  also burdened with the  supervision of  those  who are working on their sustainability projects and ally with other members of the company to discover ways of  waste reduction. It is also their duty to report the progress of those sustainability efforts to other fellow members within the company.
  • One holding the position of a sustainable officer  must stay updated on sustainable techniques and research carried out by other companies in order to handle the issue. They would also provide know-hows  to other leadership at the company as well as staff on the importance of reducing waste and how everyone can contribute to the cause.
  • If there is no one to  design strategies for the conservation of the resources,the world would encounter a lot of waste. Here is where Chief sustainability officers play a critical role in managing meetings and goals  to reduce such waste. They supervise workers and projects like other executive officers. Such leaders,  especially focus on the application of technical expertise to maintain a  balance between  environmental responsibility with stakeholder interests.
  •  As Chief sustainability officer one  must consider several  factors in their planning efforts, including recycling, pollution reduction, energy usage, waste elimination, transportation, sustainability education, and building design. In  order  to meet goals and governmental regulations, it is also necessary for them to measure the triumph of their initiatives, and communicate the results for reports and presentations.

Abilities and Aptitude needed

What are the skills, abilities & aptitude needed to become Chief Sustainability Officer?

One with graduate schooling and Master’s can enter into the position of sustainability officer. Business and management knowledge, as well as sustainability practices, is also required. Certifications in environmental management and sustainability will decorate the academics additionally. Some may go for biology and minoring in environmental studies to go for the position.Since the chief sustainability officer often needs to remain focused for large, dynamic, and time-sensitive projects. They tend to work 40 hours per week, or more. These work industriously to integrate practicality of businesses and long-term sustainability for a brighter, cleaner world. Also some soft skills needed to be furnished to be a CSO are: Commercial understanding: One must have commercial understanding, in order to get hired as a Chief Sustainability Officer.

Commercial understanding means the ability to understand business, have a vision ,ability to analyze at a detailed level and develop relation with the CFO and CEO of the companies and its board of members Strategic skills:In order to hold the position of a sustainability officer one should have the strong strategic ability to check out the balance between the products and the operation and focus on measuring the risks and opportunities for each of the products or services. Policy engagement -Policies form the most powerful infrastructure for all businesses to work to. Ability to engage with policy designers and predicting key regulatory drivers affecting future business is very crucial for a chief sustainability officer.

People skills-One needs to be a modernizer possessing the capacity to inspire others and transforming corporate culture at length. A leading sustainability officer needs to link the priorities of the routine emerging practices of the external stakeholders to get embraced by the internal stakeholders. Communication skills: a good communication skill is required to convince customers, investors and communities that the agenda of your company matters. This would maintain a goodwill of the company.

Ready to become a Chief Sustainability Officer ?

Take the world’s best assessment test !

Take a Test


How to become an Chief Sustainability Officer?

Entrance Exam

Entrance Exam for Chief Sustainability Officer ?


Which course I can pursue?


Which Industries are open for Chief Sustainability Officer?

  1. Energy and Utilities
  2. Manufacturing and Industrial
  3. Consumer Goods and Retail
  4. Technology and Software
  5. Automotive
  6. Food and Beverage
  7. Construction and Real Estate
  8. Financial Services and Banking
  9. Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals
  10. Hospitality and Tourism


Are there internships available for Chief Sustainability Officer?

Internships explicitly targeting the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) role are relatively rare due to the seniority and specialized nature of the position. However, individuals interested in sustainability and corporate social responsibility can pursue internships in related fields. These may include sustainability departments within organizations, environmental consulting firms, non-profit organizations focused on sustainability or research institutions. Such internships provide valuable exposure to sustainable practices, environmental initiatives, data analysis, and stakeholder engagement. Interns can gain practical experience, expand their sustainability knowledge, and develop skills relevant to future CSO roles. Exploring sustainability-focused organizations and networking with professionals in the field help identify internship opportunities.

Career outlook

What does the future look like for Chief Sustainability Officer?

According to 2017 data, 23% of Chief Sustainability officers who were termed as “top executives were self-employed and running small businesses. Besides this, as a CSO one can work in the following fields: Professional and technical consulting services Government services Manufacturing Healthcare and social assistance The average salary for a Chief Sustainability officer in India is 9,96,275INR/annum. An average bonus of 1,33,102INR is also earned by the post holder. However, the salary gets incremented on the basis of experience gained with the numbers of rolling years of working. as a chief sustainability officer, one needs to stay consistent with environmental laws, compliance and reporting standards via training and continuous professional development (CPD) (CPD). Becoming a member of a professional body can help you achieve this and will also help you plan your professional growth, especially in the early phases of your career, by recognising your requirements and giving answers.

Attending internal and external training courses, pertinent seminars and conferences is an efficient means of staying up to speed with current topics and updating your expertise. Some short courses may lead to additional professional credentials. The necessity to fulfil environmental regulations, be cost-effective and be perceived to be ecologically responsible are all driving influences within the profession. This influences how organisations run and may bring new chances for professional advancement in specialised areas, such as: corporate social responsibility (CSR) \senvironmental impact assessment (EIA) \senvironmental management and auditing \swaste management. In certain organisations, there may only be a limited number of specialist environmental roles.

Larger firms will provide greater chances, in some circumstances with the prospect of taking on a senior-level corporate function, or a larger role including various tasks. If one is ambitious and wish to rise to the top of the profession, one has to manage a larger brief, incorporating CSR and the consequences of environmental management for business strategy. There are also options to join the expanding number of environmental consultancies, become self-employed or go into the education profession in a teaching or research role.